How I save 75% on prescription drugs

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How I save 75% on prescription drugs
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All year long, Clark.com’s Michael Timmermann is sharing quick and easy ways to save money as part of our Michael Saves series. Check in every Monday as he puts new and familiar savings strategies to the test. Sign up for our newsletter to have these stories delivered to your inbox! 

When I was reviewing my monthly budget recently, I initially thought that I was doing everything that I could to keep my prescription drug costs as low as possible. 

By using a discount prescription app (and taking a generic drug), I already save lots of money.

Read more: Americans cross the border for cheap dental care in Mexico

How tablet splitting can save big money

However, I recently learned from a friend that I could get a higher dose of the drug I take and split the pill into quarters to save 75% on my medication.  

So I got the OK from my doctor and headed to the pharmacy to fill my new prescription.

Pill splitting save 75%

Doctors say that most pills can only be split in half, not into quarters like mine, but you’re going to want to buy a pill splitter either way for a precise cut. 

I picked up this one at Walmart for less than a dollar:

Walmart pill splitter

Once I got home, I spent about three minutes splitting 30 pills into quarters, which means I ended up with a total of 120 pills. I later read that it’s best to split only one pill at a time.

hfr how i saved xx% on my prescription drug costs

The bottom line is that with a simple phone call to my doctor’s office, I got a new prescription that’s helping me save more than $120 a year.

BEFORE: $13.16 for a 30-day supply x 12  = $157.92

AFTER: $12.10 for a 120-day supply x 3 = $36.30

21 medications you can usually split

The practice of pill splitting has worked out great for me, but it’s important to check with your doctor because not all pills can be split safely. 

According to Consumer Reports, these pills can usually be split:

  1. Amlodipine (Norvasc)
  2. Atenolol (Tenormin)
  3. Atorvastatin (Lipitor)
  4. Citalopram (Celexa)
  5. Clonazepam (Klonopin)
  6. Doxazosin (Cardura)
  7. Finasteride (Proscar)
  8. Levothyroxine (Synthroid)
  9. Lisinopril (Zestril)
  10. Lovastatin (Mevacor)
  11. Metformin (Glucophage)
  12. Metoprolol (Toprol)
  13. Nefazodone (Serzone)
  14. Olanzapine (Zyprexa)
  15. Paroxetine (Paxil)
  16. Pravastatin (Pravachol)
  17. Quinapril (Accupril)
  18. Rosuvastatin (Crestor)
  19. Sertraline (Zoloft)
  20. Sildenafil (Viagra)
  21. Simvastatin (Zocor)

On the other hand, capsules, coated pills and time-released drugs should be taken whole.

On its website, the Food and Drug Administration says it doesn’t encourage the “risky” practice of tablet splitting unless it’s specified in the drug’s professional prescribing information.

So give your doctor’s office a call and ask if this money-saving option is right for you!

Check out more from our Michael Saves series:

New website will save you money on prescription drugs

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Mike Timmermann About the author:
Michael Timmermann paid off his mortgage in two years. Now, he shares his money-saving tips on his blog, Save on Almost Everything.
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